Examples of Past Research Projects

African American and Caucasian Study

The African American and Caucasian Study is a short longitudinal study (4 months) of African American and Caucasian female undergraduates with a particular focus on perfectionism, family factors, body image, and disordered eating.

Sample publications:

Bardone-Cone, A. M., & Boyd, C. A. (2007). Psychometric properties of eating disorder instruments in Black and White young women: Internal consistency, temporal stability, and validity. Psychological Assessment, 19, 356-362.

Bardone-Cone, A. M., Weishuhn, A. S., & Boyd, C. A. (2009). Perfectionism and bulimic symptoms in African American college women: Dimensions of perfectionism and their interactions with perceived weight status. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56, 266-275.

Bardone-Cone, A. M., Harney, M. B., & Boyd, C. A. (2012). What if high expectations feel good? The interactive effect of parental expectations and their meanings in relation to bulimic symptoms. Eating Behaviors, 13, 170-173.

Experimental Examination of the Effects of Fitspiration Images Study

“Fitspiration” and “thinspiration” are common messages shared via photo-based social media platforms such as Instagram promoting fit or thin lifestyles. This experimental study explores the effects of viewing “fitspiration” and “thinspiration” images on college women’s body dissatisfaction, affect, and self-esteem. Additionally, this study seeks to understand individual factors that might put online users more or less at risk for negative outcomes after viewing these images.

Facebook Hiatus Study

The Facebook Hiatus Study examined the effects of taking a break from Facebook. In this experimental design, undergraduates were randomly assigned to two weeks of viewing Facebook as usual or being entirely off of Facebook, with outcomes of interest being body image and self-concept. Manuscripts in progress.

Facebook and Media Literacy Study

The Facebook and Media Literacy Study examined the effect of upward social comparison via Facebook presentations on body image and tested a media literacy intervention as a possible buffer of the effects of social comparison on body dissatisfaction. Manuscripts in progress.

Health Behaviors in Daily Life Study

The Health Behaviors in Daily Life (HBDL) Study investigated day-to-day life factors that may influence binge eating among African American and Latina women. Participants filled out questionnaires via a study-provided iPad throughout the day on their momentary mood and situational stressors, so that we can examine how these factors may combine with each other and with other factors (e.g., racial/ethnic identity, perfectionism) to predict binge eating occasions. Manuscripts in progress.

Missouri Study

The Missouri Study was completed at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Participants were 96 women with a history of an eating disorder and 67 non-eating disorder female controls. This project aimed to conceptualize, operationalize, and validate a definition of eating disorder recovery that was comprehensive, including physical, behavioral, and psychological elements.

Sample publications:

Bardone-Cone, A. M., Harney, M. B., Maldonado, C. R., Lawson, M. A., Robinson, D. P., Smith, R., & Tosh, A. (2010). Defining recovery from an eating disorder: Conceptualization, validation, and examination of psychosocial functioning and psychiatric comorbidity. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 48, 194-202

Bardone-Cone, A. M., Fitzsimmons-Craft, E. E., Harney, M. B., Maldonado, C. R., Lawson, M. A., Smith, R., & Robinson, D. P. (2012). The inter-relationships between vegetarianism and eating disorders among females. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112, 1247-1252

Missouri Follow-Up Study

Seven years after the initial study conducted through the University of Missouri-Columbia, this follow-up  examines conceptualizations of eating disorder recovery along with change and stability across time in a range of factors, including eating disorder related factors, comorbidity, psychosocial functioning, and personality.

Sample publications:

Bardone-Cone, A. M., Alvarez, A., Gorlick, J., Koller, K. A., Thompson, K., & Miller, A. (2019). Longitudinal follow-up of a comprehensive operationalization of eating disorder recovery: Concurrent and predictive validity. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 52, 1052-1057. doi.org/10.1002/eat.23128

Bardone-Cone, A. M., Miller, A. J., Thompson, K. A., & Walsh, E. C. (2020). Predicting a comprehensive operationalization of eating disorder recovery: Examining self-concept, personality, and negative affect.  International Journal of Eating Disorders, 53, 987-996. doi.org/10.1002/eat.23281

Koller, K A., Thompson, K. A., Miller, A. J., Walsh, E. C., & Bardone-Cone, A. M. (2020). Body appreciation and intuitive eating in eating disorder recovery. International Journal of Eating Disorders. doi.org/10.1002/eat.23238

Northern Tier Study

The Northern Tier Study is a multi-site study of over 200 women with threshold and subthreshold bulimia nervosa. The focus of this work was on identifying personality clusters in a sample of women with bulimia nervosa.

Sample publications:

Wonderlich, S. A., Crosby, R. D., Joiner, T., Peterson, C. B., Bardone-Cone, A., Klein, M., Crow, S., Mitchell, J. E., le Grange, D., Steiger, H., Kolden, G., Johnson, F., & Vrshek, S. (2005). Personality subtyping and bulimia nervosa: Psychopathological and genetic correlates. Psychological Medicine, 35,649-657.

Bardone-Cone, A. M., Joiner, T. E., Crosby, R. D., Crow, S. J., Klein, M. H., le Grange, D., Mitchell, J. E., Peterson, C. B., & Wonderlich, S. A. (2008). Examining a psychosocial interactive model of binge eating and vomiting in women with bulimia nervosa and subthreshold bulimia nervosa. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 46, 887-894.

Peers and Body Image Study

The Peers and Body Image Study is a longitudinal study that assessed female undergraduates at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill via online survey at two points separated by a year. The study assessed a wide range of factors, with particular emphasis on peers, social comparison, body image, and disordered eating.

Sample publications:

Fitzsimmons-Craft, E. E., Bardone-Cone, A. M., & Harney, M. B. (2012). Development and validation of the Body, Eating, and Exercise Comparison Orientation Measure (BEECOM) among college women. Body Image, 9, 476-487.

Bardone-Cone, A. M., Brownstone, L. M., Higgins, M. K., Fitzsimmons-Craft, E. E., & Harney, M. B. (2013). Anxiety, appearance contingent self-worth, and appearance conversations with friends in relation to disordered eating: Examining moderator models. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 37, 953-963.

Pro-Anorexia Website Study

The Pro-Anorexia Website Study examined the effects of viewing a pro-anorexia website. In this experimental design, undergraduates were randomly assigned to view one of three websites: a pro-anorexia website, a female fashion website (focused on average-sized female images with no messages regarding eating, food, or weight), and a home décor website (an appearance-neutral website). Factors such as mood, self-esteem, and body image were assessed before and after the website viewing.

Sample publications:

Bardone-Cone, A. M., & Cass, K. M. (2007). What does viewing a pro-anorexia website do? An experimental examination of website exposure and moderating effects. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 40, 537-548.

Wisconsin Study

The Wisconsin Study followed 406 female undergraduates weekly across 12 weeks, assessing a wide range of factors including perfectionism, self-efficacy, stress, body image, disordered eating, and drinking.

Sample publications:

Bardone-Cone, A. M., Abramson, L. Y., Vohs, K. D., Heatherton, T. F., & Joiner. T. E., Jr. (2006). Predicting bulimic symptoms: An interactive model of self-efficacy, perfectionism, and perceived weight status. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 27-42.

Bardone-Cone, A. M., *Brownstone, L. M., *Higgins, M. K., *Harney, M. B., & *Fitzsimmons-Craft, E. E. (2012). Predicting difficulties controlling overeating and drinking when experiencing negative affect in undergraduate women. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 31, 1051-1073.


Graduate Student Dissertations

Lisa Brownstone, PhD

The Eating Experiences and Emotions Study examines loss of control eating, particularly subjective binge eating (SBE), which is defined as loss of control eating when one does not eat an objectively large quantity of food, but subjectively perceives the amount as large in quantity. This is the first study to recruit individuals who have regular SBEs, and explores (1) what facets of SBEs could expand our current definition and understanding of the behavior?, (2) how are SBEs related to momentary emotions?, and (3) what broader psychological difficulties (e.g., body dissatisfaction, depression, and eating disorder symptoms) are related to SBE occurrence?

Ellen Fitzsimmons-Craft, PhD

Body Observations: a Daily Inner Experience Study (UNC BODIES): College represents a unique vulnerability period for the development of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating among women. These negative health concerns may be at least partially explained by social comparison and objectification theories. This study extended previous research by examining how these theories fit into an elaborated version of the sociocultural model of disordered eating and by using an ecological momentary assessment (EMA) approach. Participants were 238 college women. They completed two self-report questionnaire sessions (at the start and end of an academic semester) and a two-week EMA component (i.e., via their personal computers or smartphones, participants completed a short set of questions 3x/day mid-semester).

Meg Harney, PhD

Cognitive rigidity is a characteristic of many individuals with eating disorders. We have conducted research exploring cognitive rigidity using the Wisconsin Card Sort Test in samples of undergraduate women. We examined the independent and combined effects of fasting and affect on cognitive rigidity in female undergraduates as well as the effect of acute body dissatisfaction on cognitive rigidity in female undergraduates who endorsed feeling ashamed of their bodies compared to females who took pride in their bodies.

Katy Higgins, PhD

Latina Eating Disorders (LED) Project: Despite comparable prevalence of some eating disorders (e.g., binge eating disorder) among Latinas compared to Caucasians, eating disorders are still thought of as primarily afflicting Caucasian women. This has led to a dearth of research on eating disorders among racial/ethnic minorities. Latinas are less likely than Caucasian women to seek treatment for their eating disorder, and less is known about their treatment-seeking experiences. We recruited a female sample of 119 Latinas (78 who have suffered from binge eating disorder and/or bulimia nervosa, 41 who have never had an eating disorder). Participants completed an online survey lasting 45-60 minutes to examine two primary aims: 1) gather quantitative data on treatment experiences, their perceived helpfulness, and factors (including culturally relevant ones) associated with treatment experiences; and 2) test mechanistic models involving binge eating, disordered eating, body dissatisfaction, and culturally-specific factors.

Stacy Lin, PhD

Stacy’s dissertation research aimed to clarify ways that racial/ethnic minority women are uniquely vulnerable to or protected from eating disorder symptoms. Some key questions addressed in Stacy’s dissertation were: 1) How are ethnicity-related variables such as ethnic identity associated with eating disorder symptoms in racial/ethnic minority women, and do the effects of specific factors differ between racial/ethnic groups? 2) Does measuring dissatisfaction with racially salient body features like skin tone better explain someone’s risk of engaging disordered eating than looking only at whether they are satisfied with their weight and shape? 3) Do more broadly applicable risk factors identified in predominately Caucasian samples, such as perfectionism and thin ideal internalization, interact with ethnicity-related risk factors to explain disordered eating in racial/ethnic minorities?

Katie Thompson, MA

The Postpartum Women’s Experiences Research Study (PoWER Study) stemmed from Katie’s dissertation research and focused on sociocultural factors that influence women’s body image, disordered eating, mood, and self-esteem during the postpartum period (the first 12 months following giving birth). The first part of the PoWER Study featured an online survey aimed at: (1) identifying types and sources of social comparison, (2) exploring if different types and/or sources of social comparison are associated with postpartum women’s body image, disordered eating and mood, and (3) understanding if self-compassion moderates these associations. Additionally, this study aimed to understand if parenting factors (including maternal self-competence and partner social support) are related to these outcomes. The second part of the PoWER Study explored the effects of a self-oriented writing task designed to induce body comparison on postpartum women’s body image, affect, and self-esteem.